Sumter sheriff’s office arrests 1 in killing of Stephen Collins 2 years later; investigation continues


On July 8, 2022, 81-year-old Stephen Collins was found dead inside his Edgehill Road home with multiple gunshot wounds. Two years later, Sumter County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man in connection to the killing.

According to Mark Bordeaux, public information officer for the sheriff’s office, it is alleged that between July 7 and July 8, 2022, Elijah Keith Fleming, 20, of Hapeville, Georgia, and an accomplice entered Collins’ home with a firearm and the intent to steal items. Once inside, Fleming and the accomplice reportedly shot Collins several times while he was sitting on his couch.

Collins was the owner/operator of Collins Tree Service in Sumter for many years.

With forensic evidence gathered at the scene and Fleming’s statements implicating himself, he was charged with murder and first-degree burglary, according to Bordeaux. Fleming is being held on murder and aggravated assault charges in a separate case at the Clayton County Jail in Clayton County, Georgia. He will be extradited to Sumter County pending the result of his charges in Georgia, Bordeaux said.

“Our deputies work very hard to gather evidence and bring justice to every victim. I am thankful for their dedication that has finally brought about these charges,” said Sheriff Anthony Dennis. His gratitude extended to multiple agencies throughout the state for their assistance: Sumter Police Department and sheriff’s offices in Lee, Kershaw, Lexington, Jasper, Beaufort and Clayton counties as well as South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

“I hope this will begin to bring some comfort and sense of closure to Mr. Collins’ family and friends,” Dennis said.

The investigation into the death of Collins continues.

Anyone with information thought to be helpful is asked to contact Sumter County Sheriff’s Office during regular business hours at (803) 436-2000. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by using or the P3 Tips app for mobile devices. Individuals may earn a reward for information leading to an arrest.